WPA-GO 2013 Graduate Committee Election

In July 2013 the WPA-GO Graduate Committee (GC) will say goodbye to members Laurie A, Pinkert, Patti Poblete, and Tim Dougherty. In order to maintain the 7-person GC as outlined in the WPA-GO Bylaws, we will elect three new GC members. Voting will take place for two weeks, and results will be announced in early May.

The GC oversees WPA-GO (WPA-Graduate Student Organization), its events, and its activities; creates policies and procedures for its management; and engages in special projects and initiatives. The new GC members will serve for up to a total of three years or until July 30th of the year the member graduates from his or her graduate program, with terms beginning in July 2013. Continuing GC members are Brian Hendrickson, University of New Mexico; Jessica Nastal, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee; Kathryn Trauth Taylor, Purdue University; and Carolyn Wisniewski, University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

A core priority for this year’s election committee was to create a ballot that privileged intellectual and institutional diversity, while also ensuring a modicum of gender balance in the new committee members. These candidates not only fulfill that vision, but also add to the geographical diversity of the WPA-GO GC committee. What’s more, the following candidates all expressed strong vision for the work of WPA-GO and have prior commitments with similar organizations or initiatives that demonstrate their ability to lead and collaborate. With such distinguished potential new colleagues, the future of WPA-GO is indeed quite bright! 

If you have questions about the 2013 WPA-GO Graduate Committee Election, please contact Tim Dougherty (tdougher@syr.edu) or Laurie Pinkert (lapinker@purdue.edu), Co-Chairs of the WPA-GO Elections Committee. Other members of the Elections Committee include Lara Smith-Sitton, David Riche, and Brent Chappelow. 

Please Note: As of the 2013 GC Election, only current GRADUATE STUDENTS who are members of CWPA and/or WPA-GO are eligible to vote. Each member should vote only once. The link to the ballot will be distributed via e-mail to graduate student members of CWPA and to those on the WPA-GO mailing list. Voting opens on April 24th and closes May 8th. If you are a graduate student member but did not receive your link to vote, please e-mail wpago1@gmail.com.


Graduate Student members are invited to vote for one candidate in each of the three groupings outlined below.


Graduate Committee Member #1: Vote for Al Harahap or Brent Simoneaux


Al Harahap

Statement: Having the past two WPA-GO social events at CCCC impress upon me the importance of community building among graduate students in our field, I have been fortunate to be afforded the opportunity to serve and see all the great work that our organization does toward such efforts in its Diversity Committee. Yet I believe we can reach out to even more people at even more academic institutions and even across national borders. The CWPA’s 2008 Task Force on Internationalization’s Final Report recommends that “the WPA expand its understanding of ‘writing programs’ beyond those typically administered in North America, especially first-year composition, which does not exist as ubiquitously outside the U.S. but does take a number of other forms in varied kinds of curricula.” I believe that, as graduate students and future WPAs in training, we have much influence in how this vision of our parent organization can become realized. As an international student and non-native English speaker, I hope to bring a unique subjectivity to the Graduate Committee in its valuing inclusion of different people and ideas that can help our field flourish in its ongoing efforts to proliferate both in the U.S. and internationally.

Biography: Al Harahap is a Ph.D. student in the Rhetoric, Composition, and the Teaching of English program at the University of Arizona. His gradual overcoming of fears of academic writing has greatly informed him in helping others to conquer their own, through a career of being a tutor, mentor, writing fellow, and teacher, the latter of which has earned him the award of Inspiring Teacher of Outstanding Athlete at San Francisco State University. Al actively attends and presents at CCCC, CWPA, IWAC, and IWCA as part of his ongoing research in the institutional ecologies of writing and how they support and disrupt writing. Among other entities at his home institution, he serves on the Writing Program Advisory Committee, the Difference & Inequality Committee, and the English Graduate Union, the triangulation of which informs his current work at the national level on WPA-GO’s Diversity Committee.


Brent Simoneaux

Statement: By serving on the WPA-GO Graduate Committee, I hope to draw on my experience in interface design, information architecture, and digital media production in order to bring greater visibility to the incredible work that WPA-GO is doing. During my time in the field, I have had the opportunity to work with and learn from many individuals within the WPA community. These mentoring relationships—both formal and informal—have proven invaluable as I become a better teacher, writer, and scholar. I believe that we can design interfaces that better foster these relationships and, ultimately, strengthen our professional networks. Additionally, we can use a wider range of digital media to support knowledge production and dissemination. For example, I am currently coordinating and producing a series of audio podcasts funded by a RSA Event Grant. The series is being produced in conjunction with the Carolina Rhetoric Conference in an effort to engage larger audiences in conversations about rhetoric, media, and culture. If selected for the WPA-GO Graduate committee, I hope to help us engage in creative production such as this, ultimately helping our work as WPAs remain publicly visible and relevant at the national and even international level.

Biography: Brent Simoneaux is a second-year PhD student in Communication, Rhetoric, and Digital Media (CRDM) at North Carolina State University where he serves as the Graduate Assistant Director of the First-Year Writing Program. Brent has done extensive work redesigning the NC State First-Year Writing Program's internal website, maintaining the CRDM public site, and producing graphic design work for the 2012 Computers & Writing Conference. Prior to his graduate studies, Brent worked for the US Peace Corps developing writing programs at rural universities in western China. Brent's research focuses on critical interface studies and the articulations of Composition and Human-Computer Interaction. He has presented his research at conferences including Computers & Writing, the Carolina Rhetoric Conference, and the Carolina WPA Conference. Additionally, his interactive installations have been featured at academic conferences such as the Joint International Conference of the Pan-American Mobilities Network and the Cosmobilities Network.



Graduate Committee Member #2: Vote for Joe Paszek or Heather Stone


Joe Paszek

Statement: Over the past few years, my research in transfer has required that I seek out support opportunities (both financial and professional) from within my own department and across institutions. My involvement with the Elon Research Seminar, sponsored by Elon University, and the 2012 Dartmouth Summer Seminar for Composition Research has shown me how important it is for graduate students to have access to these cross-institutional, professional, and research conversations. Creating a strong support system for graduate students coming out of smaller composition/rhetoric programs, or from programs that do not have official composition/rhetoric tracks, is vital for the professional development of the next-generation of composition scholars as well as for the continued growth of our field.

It is my hope that my involvement with WPA-GO could help to facilitate further conversations with other graduate students who work in similar urban institutions (particularly those in the areas surrounding Michigan) as well as those who come from smaller composition/rhetoric programs and have relatively little access to local support for professional development. For instance, I would like to expand existing WPA-GO mentoring projects by developing online and other forums to continue mentoring conversations begun at the WPA Conference.

Biography: Joe Paszek is a PhD student in Rhetoric and Composition at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI where he has served as Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) and Graduate Research Assistant (GRA). As a GTA, Joe taught FYC and Intermediate Writing, was a regular contributor to the WSU Composition teaching blog, and served on a variety of departmental committees, including the Composition Assessment Committee in which he played an integral part in redesigning and piloting a Writing-About-Writing--based Intermediate Composition course. As GRA, Joe continued his involvement in Wayne State’s Composition Curriculum Assessment, served on an ad hoc committee responsible for revising the Composition Program’s section of a departmental self-study; co-authored research projects with the Elon Transfer Cohort; and developed teaching resources for new and returning faculty, including the creation of an online teaching guide for Intermediate Writing and facilitating an Intermediate Writing Teaching Circle.


Heather Stone

Statement: In my picture, I’m the one who’s 43. I became pregnant two months after starting my PhD program, quite a surprise considering my youngest was nine. I believe my baby story exemplifies a key issue facing writing centers: staying flexible when circumstances change. Whether it’s a call to decentralize, a request for online services, or a mandate to provide international students with better options, the writing center as an institution is transforming. Over the next decade, administrators will create new programs, new solutions, and new successes, and graduate students will be in the vanguard of that innovation. By entering the educational programs we’ve chosen, we’ve demonstrated our passion for writing; by sticking with those programs no matter the difficulties, we’ve proven we can resiliently and effectively adapt. Graduate students have something to contribute to the writing center administration dialogue taking place right now. We can draw on our personal experiences to show that unexpected is not necessarily worse. We can help current and future administrators understand—and perhaps even embrace—change. We can help writing centers stay relevant. The WPA needs us to actively and enthusiastically engage. Elect me and I will help us do just that.

Biography: Heather Stone is a PhD student with dual enrollment in the communication department and the rhetoric/composition program at the University of Utah. She holds an MBA degree and has fifteen years of private-sector administrative experience. She tutored in a writing center as an undergraduate. She currently works in the CLEAR (Communication, Leadership, Ethics, and Research) program, a partnership at The University of Utah between the College of Humanities and the College of Engineering. The CLEAR program is a Writing in the Disciplines endeavor, started a decade ago to respond to employer feedback that engineers—while well-trained technically—could not speak and write well enough to succeed in a technical workplace. Heather’s experience with CLEAR has illuminated many interdisciplinary and intercultural issues facing writing programs. She suspects other WPAs and student WPAs encounter similar challenges in their own programs and is hopeful her perspective could spark productive discussion among members.


Graduate Committee Member #3: Vote for Kacie Kiser or Courtney Adams Wooten


Kacie Kiser

Statement: When I first became interested in WPA work I wondered how, as a graduate student, I could engage in conversations pertaining to WPA research and scholarship beyond just enrolling in seminars and related course work. Thankfully, WPA-GO offers avenues for graduate students who are interested in WPA work to not only build their knowledge in this area, but to become active members of this discourse community. WPA-GO has provided me with several opportunities thus far that I may not have otherwise had, including the chance to meet other graduate students who share my interest in WPA work and a travel grant to help cover the cost of presenting at the CWPA conference. As a member of WPA-GO, I would love to see more graduate students participate in and reap the benefits of these opportunities.

WPA-GO’s mission is an important one which I think every graduate student should be aware of. If elected to serve on the graduate committee, I will work to promote and further develop the vision and visibility of WPA-GO, with the belief that any graduate student who is interested in gaining knowledge and experience in WPA work can do so through involvement with WPA-GO.

Biography: Kacie Kiser is a second-year PhD student in Rhetoric, Composition, and Linguistics at Arizona State University where she is also a teaching associate. Her concentrations include second language writing and writing program administration, and have more recently shifted to include rural literacies and the rhetorics of local publics. She received her M.A. in English from Old Dominion University where she also worked as a tutor in the writing center, specifically focusing on developing strategies to work with second language writers and mentoring other tutors and instructors. As Assistant Director of Second Language Writing at Arizona State for 2012-13, she continues developing her knowledge of these strategies and pedagogical practices and sharing them with instructors in ASU’s Writing Programs. Kacie has also attended and presented research related to second language writing and writing program administration at conferences such as CCCC, CWPA, and the Symposium on Second Language Writing, among others.


Courtney Adams Wooten

Statement: As writing programs continue to grow and administrative opportunities increase, CWPA has provided a valuable outlet for those involved in writing programs to gather and discuss ideas, creating a community of people intent on developing ethical, successful writing programs. WPA-GO serves a growing subset of this community – those graduate students who have already served or anticipate serving in writing programs across the country. WPA-GO has been, for me, an invaluable part of the CWPA community, providing support and collaboration to myself and other graduate students who embrace the challenges of WPA work. I seek to be part of WPA-GO leadership so that I can help to reach out to other graduate students who are part of CWPA, fostering this growing community. I welcome the opportunity to strengthen ties between CWPA and WPA-GO as we work toward common goals and participate in mentoring opportunities. As a leader in WPA-GO, I would offer fellow graduate students in WPA-GO support that I have found at CWPA and WPA-GO in hopes that they will be encouraged in their own WPA work and that they will feel prepared to become WPAs (if they have not already!) and members of the CWPA community.

Biography: Courtney Adams Wooten is a PhD candidate in Rhetoric and Composition at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro; she is studying the literacy learning of homeschoolers and how these may translate into college writing courses. She is also assistant editor for College English for 2012-2013 and served as the assistant director for the Composition Program in 2011-2012. As assistant director, she participated in a portfolio assessment of first-year composition at UNCG, coordinated and helped lead orientation for new teaching assistants, and facilitated professional development meetings for all teaching assistants. Courtney completed her master’s degree at Winthrop University, where she served as assistant director to the Writing Center. She is currently one of two teaching assistants piloting a new course in public and workplace writing at UNCG. Courtney regularly attends and presents at conferences, including CWPA and CCCC, and has several articles under review and in progress.